Photo Copyright: Maggie May
The only drawback to making a friend with a terminal illness is that there is going to be a sad ending and one risks being hurt.
I was first drawn to Pietra, who didn't live in Bristol but who came to my church every few weeks, because she was also suffering from cancer. Unfortunately, her outlook was not too good, but she had proved the Oncology team wrong on several occasions when she was given only months to live and had gone on for several years. We emailed regularly and I looked forward to the Church visit and felt she was a source of inspiration to me over these last few months as I got closer to her.
Now the inevitable has happened and I am really sad.
To the people who are left behind, it is really tough especially for her children, her mother and sisters. She died very peacefully and unexpectedly without pain. She was a Christian with a strong belief and seemed to accept where she was going with anticipation and confidence. I will be left without my email friend who was a powerful prayer warrior, who put others in front of her own needs. She had encouraged me to be strong on many an occasion with my own illness by her cheerfulness and enthusiasm. Yes, she will be truly missed and certainly not just by me.
My friend Audrey has been coming weekly to help me with the heavier work in the garden. She wondered whatever had gone wrong with my Eleagnus Maculata bush that had started off as an innocent little shrub and ended up towering in height over the kitchen roof and some might describe it as a thug.
Audrey is fairly strong and for the last few weeks she bravely sawed off thick branches, while I gathered up leaves and chopped up smaller ones that soon filled up my Council garden waste bin several weeks running.
The last time Audrey came, she was merrily untangling top branches from the tree when a very angry bird started frantically squawking and flapping about. I looked up and saw a nest........ not a very tidy one at that. I halted all tree work much to Audrey's irritation. "There is no nesting in October," she retorted. I knew that, but what with Global Warming things don't necessarily follow normal patterns, do they? After searching the web for any information on late nesting and sitting under the tree regularly to watch and listen, I am none wiser about whether the nest is in use or not and that particular bird, who I think was a wren, seems to have gone away, leaving us with a flock of cheeky sparrows who use the tree to shelter in and keep an eye out when they are using the feeders in my garden.
My final frustration comes from the out break of head lice that seems to be plaguing my granddaughters. Can I really talk about such things as this in public! It would certainly not have been possibly in my youth when school nurses would examine everyones hair and send notes to parents to keep the children away from school. Then the offending child would eventually be sent to school with sticky foul-smelling chemicals on their hair and I'm sorry to say these poor children would then be taunted or avoided. It was definitely a thing to be ashamed of.
Now the whole of this middle class infants school seems to be riddled with the pests. No one seems to take much notice and the advice given is not to use chemicals because the beasts are immune to them anyway and the recommended treatment seems to be to use masses of conditioner on the hair with nit combing over and over again until they are all dragged out with broken legs. Well that would be fine if all the children did this at the same time but this seems to be a never ending infestation.
Most of the parents just shrug and say that this doesn't happen in the Senior schools because the children don't sit tightly bunched together with their hair touching the child on either side.
I went and broke the white plastic nit comb on Amber's strong, Japanese type hair and Millie, who seems to have inherited fine, English hair was just as difficult to untangle even with conditioner and I broke another one on her. They will insist on having long hair, flowing out on the shoulders like Alice In Wonderland. My children never had this problem because they always had short hair or was I just lucky?
I am soon expecting a consignment of metal nit combs to come through the post........ ordered from the Internet.
I think I will end on this itchy subject and hope the combs come in time for next weekend's slaughter when I will tackle the little blighters again. This time I will be ready for them.